A state representative from north central Iowa has proposed a $100 fine for drivers caught dawdling in the left-hand lanes of Iowa’s highways and interstates.
Representative Josh Byrnes, a Republican from Osage, says truckers tell him poky drivers in the passing lane are causing bottlenecks and that’s why he introduced the bill.
“Really, just to raise awareness,” Byrnes says.
But once word of his legislation got out on social media, Byrnes has been inundated with Facebook email on the subject.
“You know, one person comes forward and says, ‘This happened to me,'” Byrnes says. “It almost turns into a support group.”
The bill Byrnes has proposed would require drivers in the passing lane on the highway to go no more than 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. That means vehicles going less than 60 miles an hour in the left lane on Iowa’s interstates could be pulled over and ticketed, because the posted speed limit is 70. Byrnes isn’t hearing from people who are opposed to the concept to ticketing drivers who dillydally in the passing lane.
“I’ve got nothing but all these emails from people telling me their horror stories of the left-lane experiences they’ve had,” Byrnes says.
Byrnes says this really isn’t an issue in rural Iowa, but it is a safety concern in congested areas of the state where there are more drivers using multi-lane highways. The bill isn’t likely to bcome law. The chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee says distracted driving is a bigger issue, as more motorists talk and text on their cell phones while driving.
Under current Iowa law drivers are to maintain a “reasonable and proper” speed and can be fined for “impeding traffic.” However, police and state troopers are allowed to use their own judgment as to what is the proper speed for driving in the passing lane. Vehicles and implements that are incapable of going at least 40 miles an hour are not allowed on the interstate.